'My Family Will Never Be The Same': Judge Speaks Out After Son Killed, Husband Shot

WCBS 880 Newsroom
August 03, 2020 - 9:55 am

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (WCBS 880) — A federal judge is speaking out two weeks after authorities said a disgruntled attorney killed her 20-year-old son and gravely wounded her husband in a shooting at their home in New Jersey.

On July 19, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas’ son, Daniel Anderl, was fatally shot and her husband, criminal defense attorney and former Essex County prosecutor Marc Anderl, was severely wounded when authorities said 72-year-old Roy Den Hollander, a self-described anti-feminist who frequently argued on behalf of men’s rights activists, opened fire at their New Brunswick home.

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Authorities say Den Hollander posed as a delivery driver to gain access to the home.

"Two weeks ago, my life changed in an instant and my family will never be the same," Salas said of the attack. "A madman, who I believe was targeting me because of my position as a federal judge came to my house."

In an emotional video message released Monday, Salas recounted her son's final moments. 

"We were chatting as we always do and Daniel said, 'Mom, let's keep talking. I love talking to you mom,' And it was at that exact moment that the doorbell rang and Daniel looked at me and said, 'Who is that?' And before I could say a word, he sprinted upstairs," Salas said. "Within seconds, I heard the sound of bullets and someone screaming 'No.' I later learned that this monster, who had a FedEx package in his hand, opened fire, but Daniel being Daniel protected his father and he took the shooter's first bullet directly to the chest."

As her husband recovers in the hospital from multiple surgeries, Salas said, "We are living every parent's worst nightmare, making preparations to bury our only child, Daniel. My family has experienced a pain that no one should ever have to endure."

Salas called the gunman a "sick and depraved human being" with full access to her personal information.

"The monster knew where I lived and what church we attended and had a complete dossier on me and my family," Salas said as she called for more protection of the privacy of federal judges.

She noted that serving as a judge involves "making tough calls'' that sometimes leave people angry and upset, but she said judges should not have to "live in fear for our lives'' because personal information, such as home addresses, can be easily obtained by anyone seeking to harm them or their families.

"My son's death cannot be in vain, which is why I am begging those empowered to do something to help my brothers and sisters on the bench," Salas said. "Now more than ever, we need to identify a solution that keeps the lives of federal judges private. I know this is a complicated issue and I don't pretend to know or have all the answers, but together we can find a way. Let's commence a national dialogue, let's work collaboratively to find a solution that will safeguard the privacy of federal judges. Let me be clear and tell you first hand this is a matter of life and death. And we can't just sit back and wait for another tragedy to strike."

A day after the attack, Den Hollander was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound with a list of what authorities believe were potential targets, including other judges. He is also suspected in the killing of an attorney in California.

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